Medieval and Early Modern Greek Manuscripts : Lexica

Medieval and Early Modern Greek Manuscripts

<p style='text-align: justify;'>This manuscript is composed of a series of four fragments bound together, three of which belong to the same original manuscript, originally copied during the first half of the 12th century. The fourth was probably a later addition to that manuscript. Its contents consist largely of a series of brief <i>Lexica</i>, each defining unusual words found in a specific text or group of texts. Of those whose source text can be identified, most are drawn from books of the Bible, but one (<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(15);return false;'>ff. 11v-13v</a>) relates to a text on medicinal plants, while others remain unidentified.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The manuscript also contains a poem (<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(12);return false;'>f. 9r-9v</a>), presented as an acrostic on the name Basileios (Basil). Peculiarly, while the first six lines each contain words beginning with the relevant letter of that name, these are not the first words of each line, while the last three do not contain words beginning with the relevant letter at all.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The copyist of the original manuscript has been identified as a priest named Konstantinos, who copied a number of other known manuscripts, one of which is dated to 1125, placing his period of activity in the first half of the 12th century. Most of that manuscript has now been lost, as indicated by a quire signature on <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(5);return false;'>f. 1r</a>, which identifies this as the beginning of nineteenth quire. Some of the lexica have been supplemented by the addition of further entries by later hands, both in the Byzantine period and much later in western Europe.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The last folio (<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(17);return false;'>f. 14v</a>) was copied much later than the rest, probably in the 15th or 16th century. This was probably either an expansion of the original with further lexica of the same sort or a replacement for a lost folio. However, since the whole survived as a group of separate fragments until acquiring their present binding in 1859, it is conceivable that this folio originated as part of a separate manuscript and became associated with the others after both original books had disintegrated, because of the similarity of their content.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dr Christopher Wright</p>

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